The group may have been smaller but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a success.
Hockey NWT hosted its fourth annual Female Development Camp at the Multiplex late last month and the less-than-normal turnout had a very good reason behind it, said Jessica Cox, one of the coaches for the camp.
“There was no bantam or midget players because we had the Canada Winter Games camp the weekend before,” she said. “We didn’t anticipate much interest from the older girls right after they had five days of hard work.”
That meant this year’s camp featured girls from as young as four right on up to the age of 12 and they were put through their paces, especially the nine to 12 age group as they did plenty of developmental work under the tutelage of Delaney Collins, this year’s guest coach, who made the trip into town from BC Hockey.
Cox said the older girls seemed to be a really good fit with Collins.
“She did plenty of skill development with them,” she said. “They were doing quick starts, battling along the boards and even shot-blocking. It was a lot of stuff these girls probably done a lot of in their practices before but they were really enjoying it.”
A total of 11 girls were part of the older group, mostly from Yellowknife, and that number could have been higher if a camp in Hay River had not been happening that same weekend.
“We’ll look to try and compliment our schedule with that camp for next year,” said Cox.
The final practice for the nine to 12 group was an all-out, non-stop session with plenty of drills, said Cox, and when it was all over, Collins made quite the pronouncement.
“Delaney looked at everyone and said they just did the same practice as her U18 team,” she said. “We are definitely looking to have her come back for next year’s camp. She was great because she had the girls do stuff they’ve never done before and I learned from her as a coach. We all learned and our brains are in overload mode.”
The other division was for kids aged eight and under, which started with seven players but had four by the time the weekend was over, said Cox.
In addition of having Collins as part of the instruction there as well, there were some older female players helping out in the form of Catriona Profit, Taylor Catcher and Emma Wicks, the latter two being part of the Canada Winter Games girls team.
“It was great to have them out there as role models of sorts,” said Cox. “They were great on and off the ice and the little ones got to see where you can go with hockey.”
One player who enjoyed it was Tayla Nichols, who is going into her second year of hockey in the Yk Minor Hockey Association’s initiation division this season.
She said she wanted to do the camp because it was fun.
“Playing hockey is really fun,” she said. “I had a fun time.”
She especially had fun beating Profit more than once during skating drills, she added.
“I liked beating the coaches,” she said.
There was also some off-ice work at the Fieldhouse for the girls and Nichols said there were plenty of games she liked to do.
“We played British bulldog and duck-duck-goose,” she said.
Next year will be the fifth anniversary for the camp and Cox said it will likely be back to normal in terms of numbers.
“We’ll open it up to the bantams and midgets again,” she said.